AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Starpath

By 1983, most players had thought that ball-and-paddle games like Pong and Breakout were a thing of the past. That is, until Starpath brought out an addictive and flashy Supercharger version of the game to the 2600 and won the hearts of the gaming public all over again to this type of contest.

Fireball is a mighty fine variation on a theme. This particular game has some fantasy story about a struggling juggler who must face the ultimate Fireball Competition in the annual Tournament of Jugglers. The reality is that a player gets five chances to ricochet a dot or six off the walls of the screen and into colored blocks in various patterns and formations. Points accumulate based on how many blocks are smashed and whether or not the screen is cleared of all blocks.

Using the 2600 paddle controller, the juggler is able to move to the right or left along the lower line of the screen. The firing button is used to hurl the fireballs into the bricks. Continuous pressure on the button directs the juggler to hurl every fireball he catches as soon as it is caught, while the periodic pressure on the button will direct the figure to hold the particular fireball in question until it becomes more advantageous to hurl it away. Holding a fireball for too long a period of time will result in the thing being hurled at random without player control.

The player has a choice of five playing screens, but no matter which of the screens is chosen for play, only the pattern of the blocks changes, but that's to be expected. The animated movement of the juggler is entertaining and colorful, especially the little legs that scurry beneath the figure. The Supercharger's additional memory capacity is definitely put to good use here.

Fireball is very derivative and familiar to most classic videogame enthusiasts, but the design does provide for some challenging and exciting play. There are probably some gamers who will think that the Fireball is faster moving and more entertaining in the long run than the old favorites, but I'll personally still pick Super Breakout if forced to choose between the two.

Title Fireball
Publisher Starpath
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 8
Sound 8
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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